Lisa Simpson discovers that villains really do have more fun in the new Simpsons animated short, “Welcome to the Club” on Disney+, which sees her hanging out with “Little Mermaid” baddie Ursula and Loki.
Tom Hiddleston, who previously appeared in the Simpsons/Marvel crossover short, “The Good, the Bart, and the Loki,” returns to voice the mischievous trickster god in the new four-minute short. Voice artist Dawn Lewis takes over the role of Ursula from Pat Carroll, who died earlier this year.
Ahead of the short film’s premiere on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 12:01 a.m. PT, TheWrap spoke with “The Simpsons” writer/producer Al Jean, who joked he’s dying to do a NatGeo crossover. And since he’s a big fan of “Bluey,” it might not be a stretch to see Simpsons’ pooch Santa’s Little Helper hanging out with our favorite animated heelers.
A line from writer Mike Reiss in “Welcome to the Club” notes that villains, and their songs such as “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” are usually the best part of any Disney movie, so Bleeding Fingers Music was tasked with coming up with an original tune. “They’ve done all the music for all the shorts and they’re fantastic,” Jean said. “We wanted something in the vein of the classic ’90s animated Disney movies and they delivered.”
TheWrap: What do you enjoy most about doing these mini episodes?
Al Jean: Working with David Silverman, who directed them all. He’s a fantastic director and everything that we write, every idea that we pitch, he’ll send me a drawing and I just laugh out loud. He’s always just so witty in what he does.
Lisa starts off the episode wanting to have the “perfect” Disney princess experience before deciding to hang out with the villains instead.
Do you remember the name of any of the Disney princes? Which we also make fun of in this short. No, we just remember the villains a lot more. They’re so bland and the villains are so much more interesting, and have so much more human emotion.
Who comes up with the ideas for these shorts?
Generally me or Jim Brooks, or one of the writers. We did a show with Maggie where, I said, “Oh, it’d be fun if she and her boyfriend were at a Greek resort, [Silverman had her] dressed like Jackie Onassis. He takes it from one to a 10 every time.
Is it a bit weird to go from poking fun at Disney all these years to collaborating with them?
They’ve been great. When Disney bought Fox, they said, “We know where you are and do what you do.” And that’s been true the whole time. And they’ve been fantastic. They were really happy to have us do these shorts to cross with their characters and Marvel’s. We’re just like the little guy throwing spitballs and they wanted us to stay that way. The little guy with like, you know, 150 million viewers (laughs).
How did you first get Tom Hiddleston involved?
He once said to one of the writers, “I’d like to be on ‘The Simpsons,'” and he got his wish. He plays Loki again. I’m been a huge fan of his. You know, when Loki ran Asgard, it was much better than Thor (laughs). And he could not have been nicer and more excited to be on “The Simpsons.”
Your Billie Eilish short was nominated for an Emmy this year.
Jim Brooks actually suggested it, and I checked with Disney and of course they were like, “Billy Eilish! We love her!” They’d done a documentary with her, which was great. And we went to her and it was really fun. We were on Zoom with her and Phineas and we said, “Would you like to do our theme song?” and she goes, “F— yeah, I’d like to do your theme.” I totally loved her. She was as you know, expected, just really talented, really nice. And you know, unbelievably sophisticated for somebody her age.
Will we see more Disney or Marvel crossovers or perhaps another Disney-owned property?
Well, the holy grail for us is to figure something with NatGeo, because it’s the one Disney dial we haven’t done (laughs). It’s really trying to put it in and it keeps getting displaced by something from Pixar or something like “Pinocchio” or whatever. I love that whole universe. Star Wars and Marvel have been incredibly gracious so any crossover, anything that we do, we’re really thrilled about. And “Bluey”‘s huge on Disney+… I watch it. I mean, you know it’s for a younger audience, but it is very, very enthralling.
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